Julie Blandeau translated the following piece by Sarasa Ono (pictured here), which we found here. Thanks, Julie!
You can follow Sarasa Ono on Twitter here.
Looking at what is happening to the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants, I’m sure that people from various standpoints will think and say various things.
My mother was born in the town right next to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Built over 40 years ago, it’s the oldest working nuclear power plant in Japan.
My deceased grandfather, who was a blue collar worker for the city, devoted himself to the antinuclear power movement in the sixties and seventies. I remember him being very taciturn; he was a man of few words.
As his granddaughter, I will try to understand the reason for his silence.
The coastal area of Hamadoori in Fukushima prefecture is called the “Nuclear Plant Ginza (N/T: Ginza is an upscale shopping district located in Tokyo)”.If you go you’ll notice immediately, but judging from the scale of the local government, strangely, there is a big park as well as various neo-futuristic facilities scattered about, and the area around the nuclear power plant distortedly glistens. If you’re a soccer fan you must know the Nahara J-Village, and one of its big sponsors is Tokyo Electric Power.
The Hamadoori area has been “planned” as infrastructure to boost Japan’s rapid post-war economic growth and to let Tokyo Electric Power and government subventions prosper. The people from my grandfather’s generation, who devoted themselves to the antinuclear power movement, have children and grandchildren who either have become Tokyo Electric Power employees, or married and had children with employees. Employment, infrastructure, housing, people’s livelihood and the town itself were becoming the products of the nuclear power plant. But who can blame them for this inconsistency?
Even on his deathbed, my grandfather didn’t say anything.
Right now, because of certain circumstances, I have drifted apart from my mother’s home.
Starting with Europe, developed countries have once again started to shift to nuclear energy. Developing countries in the south and emerging countries are speeding up the process of becoming exporters of nuclear energy, but the current events could very possibly change this tendency.
No matter what anybody says, I think it’s good. But. To the people wandering in death’s maw after being taken away by the tsunami’s muddy waters, to the great loss, to every single person living in afflicted areas, I want them to know that, like my grandfather, I have complicated feelings that are hopeless for words. I want them to know that the nuclear power plant was the product of its time.
No matter how we break this down, no matter what we say, I think it’s good. I think it’s necessary. But.
It doesn’t only apply to nuclear power plants. Up until now, there was someone who decided about that place’s land, its people. Someone who decided for the “parties concerned.” More often than not, that “someone” had never lived there and didn’t know the people. It is still uncertain in which ways Japan’s urban planning and social security planning will use this disaster as an opportunity.
Everybody understands that “planning” and “analyzing” are necessary actions as far as convenience goes. But nobody understands how to decide, or who the “planning” really is for. The incoherence of “planning” itself, that guilty conscience, it is something that everyone faces and deals with by crafting stories. But.
That guilty conscience, snuggling up, looking at you straight in the eyes, putting it into words is agony. I want to find a way that is neither pessimistic nor optimistic to approach “rationality” in a different light than up to now.
That’s all I thought.
I wish for everyone to get close to words.
I wish for the small settlement in the mountainous region of Fukushima and for my mother and father to continue living safely.